Trump Confirms Ryan Zinke Will Be His Nominee For Secretary Of Interior
President-elect Donald Trump has officially chosen Montana Representative Ryan Zinke to serve as his interior secretary.
Zinke was an early supporter of Trump's and publicly sought a Cabinet post when Trump visited in May.
In an interview in March with Montana Public Radio when Zinke was running for re-election, we asked if he had ambitions beyond serving as Montana’s congressman:
"A lot of people ask me that, and I think you’ve got to put one step at a time," Zinke said. "I’m going to do what’s in the best interest of Montana. I think it’s good always to have an arm’s-length to Washington, D.C. Because the moment you start getting comfortable with Washington, D.C., I think to a degree you become part of the problem."
Trump's decision to tap Zinke for interior also upends Senate Republican plans of recruiting the congressman to challenge two-term Democratic Senator Jon Tester in 2018.
As Montana's at-large representative, Zinke has proven he can win statewide, and the GOP considered Tester vulnerable in the midterms.
As with several other Trump Cabinet nominees, Zinke has advocated for increased energy drilling and mining on public lands and expressed skepticism about the urgency of climate change.